Road Trip: Camp Netanya The Little Santorini of the South)

Camp Netanya Resort and Spa is a Santorini-inspired resort hotel with brilliant blue domes and white wash buildings. It is more popularly known as the Little Santorini of the South.

Enjoy the ocean view this resort by the sea has to offer. Especially enjoy watching orange and pink sunsets with family and friends.

Before going to the pool, have fun – wander and enjoy getting lost in the blue and white alleys.

Dip in the blue pool or hang out at the cabana.

The resort is kid-friendly too as baby Dominique had fun in our family loft…

She had hours of fun at the Kid’s Camp too.

Bigger kids like Kuya Sean can have fun kayaking and snorkelling.

Camp Netanya was being renovated when we visited. In 2018, the library, business center, music lounge, and spa would be fully operational. Nonetheless, despite the ongoing renovation, the 3-hour ride from Manila was well worth the trip.




Roadtrip: Camp Netanya

Address: Brgy Ligaya, Mabini Batangas, 4202 Philippines

Telephone Number: +63 939 7535 074 | +63 927 8954 092


Budget: P18,000 for family loft good for 6

Facebook: @Camp Netanya


Road Trip: Monasterio de Tarlac (Relic of the Holy Cross)

Ave Crux Spes Unica

Ave crux, spes unica is a Latin pious expression meaning “Hail to the Cross, our only hope.”

Come visit and hail the Holy Cross. A relic of it can be found atop Mount Resurrection surrounded by lush greenery at the Mount Resurrection Eco Park in the barangay of Lubigan, Tarlac.

Atop the mountain, the Risen Christ Monastic Community dedicates itself to a life of prayer and solitude.

Pilgrims are welcomed to the Monasterio de Tarlac with a 30-foot statue of Jesus Christ overseeing the mountain range and the lush greenery. Music of monks singing also echo across the monasterio, seemingly welcoming all the pilgrims after their 2-hour-trip-from-Manila and their winding journey up the mountain.

Prior the start of every Holy mass, a brief history of how the relic came to the monasterio is shared: “The monasterio is run by the Servants of the Risen Christ (SRC) Monastic Community, founded by Fr. Ronald Thomas Cortez in 1998. In 2005, Fr. Cortez attended the World Youth Day celebration in Germany, where he met Msgr. Volker Bauer, the custodian of the relic of the Holy Cross At the time, Msgr. Volker was looking for someone to whom he can entrust the relic since the monastic life in Europe is slowly dying. Aware of Fr. Cortez’ Monastic Community in the Philippines, Msgr. Volker entrusted the relic to him. And so in 2005, the holy cross came to the monastery.

The relic authenticated by a papal seal is believed to be part of the cross discovered by Saint Helena in Jerusalem, the mother Emperor Constantine the Great. It was believed that Saint Helena excavated three crosses in Jerusalem which were believed to be the crosses used during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. She brought a woman who was about to die and asked her to touch the first two crosses but nothing happened. When the third cross was touched, the dying woman was healed.”

This story of Saint Helena’s journey in search of the true holy cross is the underlying foundation of the month-long Filipino festival in May honoring the Virgin Mary – known to many as Santacruzan or Flores de Mayo.

On January 30, 2007, this relic of the True Cross of Jesus was enshrined in the chapel dedicated to it by the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, His Excellency Fernando Filoni, D.D.

A small baroque chapel is built in the middle of the secluded compound by a piazza.

This small chapel serves as the cross’ reliquary as enshrined beneath its chapel’s altar, held by a golden arquetta adorned with religious symbols – is a relic of the Holy Cross. Pilgrims are allowed to touch the golden arquetta after the masses celebrated at 10:30 AM every day and at 3:00 pm on Sundays.

Exposed veneration of the relic of the Holy Cross happens every 19 January to mark its enshrinement anniversary and 14 September in time for the foundation anniversary of the Servants of the Risen Christ.Hundreds of pilgrims flock to the monasterio on these special days and on Holy Week.

After each holy mass, pilgrims are encouraged to explore the monasterio.


I encourage you to explore. Go. Walk around. Pray. Be in awe of His great work. Be grateful. Shout for joy. Feel His loving embrace as you gaze to the mountain side. Heave a sigh of contentment as a gentle breeze blows on your face. Be at peace. Feel loved. Feel very loved.

Isaiah 55:12

“For you will go out with joy,

And be led forth with peace;

The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,

And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.




Roadtrip: Monasterio de Tarlac

Address: Mount Resurrection Eco Park, Barangay Lubigan, Tarlac, Philippines

Telephone Number: TBA

Website: TBA

Budget: P50 entrance fee per car

Facebook: @Monasterio de Tarlac

Road Trip: Summer in Vitalis Villas, the Santorini of the North

1 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1
Thank you, dear Heavenly Father, for the weekend that was.
We are indeed grateful for so many things. Grateful as we are all provided with good health to allow us to push through with our summer-in-local-Santorini plans. Grateful for the super sunny Summer weather in Ilocos. Grateful for the safe and uneventful 6-hour roadtrip from Manila to Ilocos Sur. Grateful for blessing us with very friendly and helpful staff in the hotel who took care of all our needs, whims, and wants. Grateful for the delish overflowing food served to us and all other guests. Grateful for these fun family memories.
For all these and more, we are grateful, dear Father, for all the blessings you have bestowed upon us.
I am extremely grateful, most especially, dear Heavenly Father,  when my first day transitioned to night in Vitallis Villas – as You showed your artwork and painted the sky pink blue yellow orange and purple right before my very eyes. I feel loved. I feel blessed. I am grateful. Thank you. I love you.
From Ilocos with love,
We’re grateful for visiting Vitalis Villas! 

Take lots of pictures of the dove-white houses and cobalt blue gates and fences.

Enjoying swimming in the 2 pools, too.

Or head across Vitalis Sands, Vitalis Villas’ sister resort to enjoy fine sand and some water activities (water park, kayak, jet ski, zipline, etc).

Feel free to hang out in your villa and spend quality  time with family and friends.

Or spend time in prayer and be grateful for being given the chance to visit the villas of the North.

What are you most grateful for today?


Roadtrip: Vitalis Villas
Address: Sabangan, Santiago, Ilocos Sur, Philippines
Telephone Number: +63.2.3733333


Budget: varies per number of rooms per unit (please check out Vitalis Villas website for more details)
Facebook: @Vitalis Villas